The great tragedy of the lumpenbourgeoisie, and neoliberals from the Periphery in general; brought up on pax-Americana tropes and as Metropolitan Elites, is that they lose egalitarian and democratic ethos.

Very easily, they assume their prejudices and biases must have universal cultural application. Without so much as an inquiry into why.

What they see as democracy is what democracy must be. You are either for them or against them. Sham Cartesian dualism masquerading as moral philosophy.

So, it is easy to hear them say something that is not necessary. Without so much as halting to reflect that, other bearers of the Imago Dei may consider it differently. That is simply because they hold that view does not make it right.

They want to be nice guys, so others must also want to be nice. Forgetting that in the world of Tafawa Balewa Square Area Boys and philosophies, this aspiration may mean the inability to survive a day. For in their world, where life has pounded them into an existence where there can only be the quick and the dead, nice guys finish last.

The lumpenbourgeoisie is unable to come to terms with the fact that, the poor are in the majority. Not the Metropolitan Elites. The voices of the poor and marginalised, if they are in the majority, also deserve to be heard in the development conversation. The poor can also be a source of much profound philosophy.

Especially if, how we reorder social relations around the means of production, is a fundamental concern of development dialogue.

With supreme confidence, someone recently told me she does not recognise me any longer. That I sound angry these days. And a whole lot of moralistic tosh.

No pause to ask whether I recognise her. Or approve of her moral standards. And whether I too have a right to a point of view about that. Her view is simply assumed right. Typical lumpenbourgeoisie.

I have been making fun of people who set a universal requirement for cultural sensitivity. It cannot be an absolute requirement for all contexts. Some people do not want to be sensitive to a culture that only delivers mass misery. They want that culture destroyed actually.

Same as emotional intelligence. Why does anyone assume they have it and not the other? Used properly it is a great thing. Abused and applied out of context, it is simply an escape from holding powerful people accountable.

We need time and space to have quality conversations and dialogues in Ghana and Africa and the entire Periphery actually.

The intellectual pretence of the lumpenbourgeoisie that they alone interpret the moral codes of the world, is, at the very best, amusing.

If our society needs mindset revolution, as my great friend Akosua Bame, puts it. It also needs to uphold the original intellectual tenets of the French Revolution, no matter what that Revolution later became.

Our world needs more liberty, more egalitarianism, and more fraternity. If God made us all, then we must respect each other.

This is what our African forebears meant when they said in our indigenous languages – I use Twi on this occasion, t3kyer3ma da ma num yi de3, m3 kan bi”. To wit, as long as I have a tongue, I will participate in the debate.

Each can indeed participate in the debate. We must value multiculturalism and interculturalism more. Anything else and we are faced with the possibility of a dangerous cultural dictatorship. This is no doubt what the immortal Professor Samir Amin meant, when he advocated, “a differentiated polycentric approach; one planet, many systems.”

That has to be a major consideration for people who claim to want diverse and inclusive societies. Perhaps the only way to secure long-term health for a sustainable society.

I find Samin Amin’s position, a great way for intellectuals to organise their lives. It certainly provides fertile soil for the planting of Noam Chomsky’s injunction to intellectuals to follow the path of integrity, wherever it leads.

May there be peace on earth. May we respect each other. Liberte. Egalite. Fraternite.

Aluta continua.

Yaw Nsarkoh,
17 January 2023.

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